The Proteas pacers led by Lungi Ngidi produced a fierce bowling show taking their side to the top in Group 2, dethroning India from the no.1 position.
Riding high on confidence after two successive victories, India, in Perth were outplayed by the Proteas on a pitch that clearly favoured the fiery South African quicks.
The India bowlers did try to make a match out of a low scoring game but Aiden Markram and David Miller ensured that the Proteas got across the finish line in a comfortable manner.
Here’s a look at some of the key moments of India’s first loss of the ongoing tournament:
1) Rohit winning the toss and batting first – Playing their first match of the tournament on the pacy Optus Stadium wicket in Perth, Rohit Sharma won a crucial toss and surprisingly opted to bat first. With the chilly weather and the pitch bound to help the pacers, Rohit’s decision was a bit of a surprise. However the India captain stated at the toss that it was a good surface and the team knew what to expect and what to do on the pitch.
2) Ngidi ripped apart the top order – At the 4-over mark, India were 21 for no loss and both the openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were settling in. But then Lungi Ngidi came in and rattled India completely in the fifth over of the innings, removing both Rohit and Rahul in the same over. An over later, he also grabbed the big wicket of in-form Virat Kohli as India found themselves reeling at 41 for 3.
3) India losing half of their side in 9 overs – After Lungi Ngidi’s triple blow, Anrich Nortje got rid of World Cup debutant Deepak Hooda for a duck and Ngidi then bounced out Hardik Pandya as India found themselves tottering at 51 for five in 9 overs. With the bounce the pitch was offering and the Proteas quicks bowling with their tails up, the India batters looked clueless against the fiery South African pace attack. With half of their side back in the pavilion before the 10th over, it was always going to be difficult for India to recover from there.
4) Surya, the lone warrior – As wickets kept tumbling at the other end, Suryakumar Yadav was the lone man standing for his team, scoring 68 while others found it difficult to put bat to ball. The middle, lower-middle order and the tailenders did absolutely nothing as India crawled to 133 for 9 in their stipulated 20 overs.
5) Bowlers failing to capitalize on early successes – As South Africa began their chase of 134, India pacers too utilized the new ball and conditions to perfection, rattling the Proteas right at the start and reducing them to 24 for 3 inside powerplay with Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Shami doing the damage. But then Aiden Markram and David Miller stitched a beautiful 76-run partnership for the fourth wicket and steadily took the game away from India.
6) The catch Virat Kohli dropped and Rohit’s missed run out chance – In the 12th and the 13th over, India got two opportunities to get rid of the set Aiden Markram but failed to grab them. While Virat Kohli dropped a dolly in the deep that left the bowler Ashwin R Ashwin completely surprised, Rohit in the very next over, bowled by Mohammed Shami, missed out on the easiest of run out chances providing Markram with two lifelines.
7) Killer Miller – While India did eventually manage to get rid of Aiden Markram for 52, Rohit Sharma and co. had no answer to the smart batting showcased by the experienced David Miller. He first allowed Markram to go after the India bowlers after the halfway mark, while playing sensibly himself and then after Markram’s departure took matters into his own hands, settled in and comfortably took South Africa across the finish line with two balls to spare.